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Collaboration 'key to saving high street'

Collaboration is key to saving the high street, Tony Mannix, chief executive of logistics firm Clipper, said at Drapers Fashion Forum today.

Mannix said retailers under pressure should work together – even if they are competitors – in areas of the business where there is no unique selling point such as warehousing and logistics.

“Retailers are starting to realise that sharing capability is no longer a dirty word,” he said. “It’s really important that we look at common-sense collaboration that works for everyone.”

Clipper has launched a programme of activity in partnership with Drapers designed to encourage collaboration and sharing of information between retailers of all sizes. Mannix said the aim is to help the overall health of fashion retail and the high street.

“Not everyone is a genius at everything,” he said. “Where do you reach out to if you’re small and growing, or if you’re big and shrinking?”

The Drapers and Clipper partnership, anchored by our Guide to Growth portal and in-depth report on growth in a difficult climate, reports on a range of topics relating to the challenges retailers face as they scale up.

Mannix pointed to one example of Clipper’s own approach to collaboration, which solved a business problem for the company. The firm has worked with charity Tempus Novo to help ex-offenders into work, as well as reaching out to other non-traditional employees such as refugees, homeless people, retirees and the long-term unemployed.

The project, Fresh Start, has now given 698 people access to employment, and has saved the company £400,000 in recruitment agency fees.

“We achieved that by collaborating with all these people who we didn’t know existed before,” Mannix said. “By thinking differently and collaborating we solved a massive challenge for ourselves.”

 

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